Russian President Vladimir Putin had laudatory words for President Trump, whom he praised as an “extraordinary individual,” and only a bland comment on President Biden, who he called a “career man” in politics.
But Putin also said he doesn’t expect any “impulsed-based movements” out of the plainer man, Biden.
“I believe that former U.S. president Mr. Trump is an extraordinary individual, talented individual, otherwise he would not have become U.S. President,” Putin told NBC News in his first interview with a U.S. news network since 2018. “He is a colorful individual. You may like him or not. And, but he didn’t come from the U.S. establishment, he had not been part of big-time politics before, and some like it some don’t like it but that is a fact.”
An excerpt from the interview appeared Friday on NBC’s Nightly News with Lester Holt.
Biden, meanwhile, “is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics,” according to Putin.
“That’s a different kind of person, and it is my great hope that yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements, on behalf of the sitting U.S. president.”
Trump has been accused by Democrats of being favorably included toward the Russian president, while Biden has been charged with being too accomodating toward Putin, despite calling him a “killer.”
Putin said that U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated to their “lowest point in recent years.” The U.S. problems with Russia include human rights abuses, including the case of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a renewed and brutal wave of repression against dissent, and interference in U.S. elections.
Biden has labeled Putin a “killer,” a description NBC’s Keir Simmons brought up in the interview amid accusations that Putin has had his political adversaries killed or jailed. Putin chuckled when Simmons asked him if he was a killer.
Pressed to explain a litany of names of Putin opponents who are now dead, the Russian president shot back: “I don’t want to come across as being rude, but this looks like some kind of indigestion except that it’s verbal indigestion. You’ve mentioned many individuals who indeed suffered and perished at different points in time for various reasons, at the hands of different individuals.”
Biden is set to meet with Putin in Geneva on June 16th, though the White House has said the meeting is not a “reward” for the Russian president. The two leaders are expected to discuss a range of issues, including Iran and North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Syria, the Arctic, strategic stability, arms control, climate change, COVID-19 and more.